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Act 15, 1889 (XV) – Act anent Appointment of Precentors. 31st May 1889.

The Assembly direct the attention of all ministers and others interested to the Report on the Appointment of Precentors, prepared by the Praise Committee in 1885.

Recommendations of the Report, 1885.

” The Committee would suggest that some general recommendations might be issued by the Assembly which would be of use in guiding the choice of Praise-leaders, so as to avoid irritations and divisions. The following may indicate what is proposed :—

” (1) That no person should be engaged as a leader of the praise of the sanctuary, vocally or otherwise, who is not a member of the Christian Church, or whom the Session is not prepared to receive into the fellowship of the Church : and that in the event of any one so engaged being suspended from Church privileges, by the Session, his office be ipso facto vacated. Also that the resignation of such office should be addressed to the Moderator of the Session ; and that the Session should intimate it, with any decision it has come to, to the Deacons’ Court.

” (2) That on a vacancy in the office of Praise-leader, the Session should appoint a small Committee of its members, whose names shall be intimated to the Deacons’ Court, which shall appoint a like number of its members, not elders, to form a Joint-Committee with those named by the Session. Of this Joint-Committee the Moderator shall be ex officio Convener. In the event of his absence, or declining to act as Convener, the Joint-Committee shall elect a Vice-Convener. It should be the duty of this Committee to take the necessary steps to invite candidates, at the salary fixed by the Deacons’ Court, and to make careful private inquiry as to the character of all applicants for the  office, as also to sift certificates of musical qualifications and ability to lead and to give instruction in singing.

” That for the purpose for which such Committee is appointed—more especially to make inquiry as to character, it is desirable that this Committee should be a small one.

” (3) That this Committee should report to a joint meeting of the Session with the Deacons the result of their inquiries in a list containing the name or names of the most eligible candidate or candidates.  A minute of this meeting shall be kept in the records of the Session and the Deacons’ Court. That the minister, having been beforehand informed of names on said list, shall, in the event of his not  exercising his right of veto, be held as agreeing to the appointment of any one of them.

” (4) That whatever means it may be deemed necessary to take, to ascertain the competence of any candidates and their general acceptability with the congregation, the formal appointment to office shall be made by the Kirk-session meeting, and be duly recorded in the minutes of Session and Deacons’ Court.

” The Committee regard it as undesirable to specify the means necessary to ascertain the  acceptability of a Praise-leader to the congregation generally. As the present practice is so diverse, and the number of office-bearers varies so much in different congregations, the Committee are of opinion that this would be best entrusted to local parties to determine what was required. But the Committee recommend that in all cases the period of appointment, and conditions on which it may be terminated on either side, shall be clearly minuted.”